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Margaret Clement wrote to Elinor Pinczes, author of A Remainder of One.
Dear Elinor Pinczes,
In 2006 when I was in second grade, I was struggling to maintain my grades. I was a student at a public school and barely holding on to a passing grade in language arts. This was when I first tried to read your story, A Remainder of One. It was very hard for me, and I wasn't successful in completing the story. The words were useless to me while the pictures told me the story. My mom was worried at my slow progress and asked for my school to test me for reading difficulties. This was denied because I had not failed the class. My dad knew that having an "F" would bring my spirit to the core of the earth. He couldn't let that happen, and in his heart he knew I had dyslexia. He was right! I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia after being evaluated at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas on my eighth birthday.
Joe, a small bug prepared to serve his queen, was at the same stage in his life as I, a small child prepared to do well in school, was in mine: facing challenges, embarrassment, frustration, and having to give 200% effort in every phase of our lives. For me, my head could not cope with these challenges. I saw a part of myself within the pages of A Remainder of One. Joe and I both wanted to accomplish something but had big, annoying mosquitoes biting us as we traversed our path to success. My mosquito had a problem of not finishing what I had started and giving up too easily. I finally gave up when I had to study with my mother for over two hours each day during an entire week prior to my spelling test and ended up with failing grades despite my efforts. I was just as upset and embarrassed to give my parents my test covered in red X's as Joe was to get yelled at by the Queen.
Joe has taught me never to close a door leading to path you want to take, to never give up, and to never say you can't. I needed to work past exhaustion. After the third time my big sister read me A Remainder of One, I understood the words and I knew that Joe had made it. He put himself out there and achieved his goal of marching to make his Queen proud, and that was what I was going to do with my learning disability.
A few weeks later my grades started to rise, and for the first time, I picked up your book, turned a few pages, and completed A Remainder of One all on my own. When I finished your book I felt like Joe, the last man standing. I didn't give up and finally reached my desire. I couldn't have learned to read and spell without Joe. A Remainder of One has done for my life more than I imagined a book could have accomplished. Even as a teen I still read this young book. As a big sister, I read A Remainder of One to my little sister as was done to me. I hope one day when she can understand this story she can take the same life lesson from it as I did and apply it to her own dyslexia. This book has changed my education and my life.
With great thanks,
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)